Half Moon Empanadas CEO Pilar Guzmán Makes Inc.’s 2024 Female Founders List

Inc.’s seventh annual Female Founders list highlights entrepreneurs with world-changing companies

MIAMI, APRIL 9, 2024 – We are thrilled to announce that our very own Pilar Guzman, a Miami Foundation trustee and Miami Fellows alumna, was named to Inc. magazine’s seventh annual Female Founders list, which honors 250 women whose innovations and ideas are shaping the world into a better place!

Pilar Guzmán, CEO of Miami-based Half Moon Empanadas, the fast-casual establishment renowned for its authentic empanadas that are taking US airports by storm, was named to Inc. magazine’s seventh annual Female Founders list, honoring 250 women whose innovations and ideas are shaping the world into a better place. The founders on the list cross all industries and bring unique stories of success from each stage of the entrepreneurial journey — from startup to going public, being acquired by big buyers, or spending decades at the helm of an organization.

“It’s thrilling to be recognized by Inc. alongside so many inspiring female founders,” Guzmán said. “This recognition isn’t just for me. It’s for our entire team, especially the many talented women who have been instrumental in our growth. I hope our journey and this acknowledgment inspires other women to chase their entrepreneurial dreams.”


Founded in Miami in 2008, Half Moon faced a near-shutdown after their first location struggled. However, under Guzmán’s leadership, the company has experienced remarkable growth. They now boast 22 locations nationwide with another six on the way. The expansion has been strategically focused on airports, with 11 existing locations and all six planned ones situated in some of America’s largest airports. In 2023, the company was named to Inc.’s 5000 Fastest Growing Companies in the US.


Their success, however, goes beyond simply having more stores. They’ve proven their operation is efficient and can work in various formats. The Miami International Airport store holds the title of the #1 best-selling concept per square foot, and the Denver International Airport store has been lauded by airport administration as its top-performing stand-alone kiosk.


A Mexican-born mother of two with a master’s degree from Georgetown University, Guzmán passionately advocates for empowering women and minority entrepreneurs. She has not only built a dedicated staff, predominantly composed of women, but she fosters a culture of aspiration – encouraging and empowering team members to develop their skills, pursue their passions, and advance within the company. During the pandemic, when Half Moon was forced to close all but one of its stores, she prioritized keeping her staff on payroll, determined they would emerge stronger together.

Each year, Inc. editors review thousands of applications highlighting female founders who are challenging the status quo and tackling some of the world’s biggest problems. The list features women who have overcome challenges and lifted those around them while leading impactful organizations across the country. Pilar joins the ranks of previous honorees including Jessica Alba, Tracee Ellis Ross, Rihanna, and Shonda Rhimes. To see the complete list, go to: https://www.inc.com/female-founders.

Congratulations, Pilar, on this incredible achievement! We are so grateful to have you as a board member. Thank you for building a greater Miami alongside us.


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